Back in November, estimates for Q4 '07 year over year S&P 500 earnings growth stood at 1.7%. Currently, with nearly all companies having reported fourth quarter earnings, EPS growth stands at -18%. As shown below, the root cause to the negative number for the S&P 500 is Financials, where earnings have declined 105%.
Below we highlight growth estimates for the first three quarters of 2008 as well. Earnings growth for the S&P 500 is expected to be slightly negative for the first half of the year and then grow by 16% in the third quarter. It's also worth noting that many sectors are still expected to see strong growth. Technology, Energy, Industrials and Consumer Staples currently have the best growth expectations for the next few quarters.